PSALM OF CHANGE
In worship, we are always expected to acknowledge our sins; in the world we are encouraged to know our aims and stick to them. This psalm is a reflection on change, in various walks of life, and on the distinctions between our commitment and our human necessity to acknowledge our mistakes. O that we might learn to find the wisdom that will let us get the distinction right!
- Why do we have to prove we're always consistent:
is there virtue in knowing I've never changed my mind?
- Officials are expected to pursue the policies laid down for them:
a politician needs to believe in
the same things as before.
- Yet Saint Paul could glory in his changed direction:
the preacher asks us to turn and be converted,
- the counsellor is at pains to hear and support the inconsistencies:
a doctor may change the prescription
in case I become immune!
- Frequently I make mistakes and need to recant:
to say 'sorry' shows maturity and hope for the future;
- I can respect the person who acknowledges they were wrong before:
even with the best will in the world
anyone can change their view.
- But it's a sign of weakness to change a commitment:
are we willing to trust the person
who admits an error of judgement?
- Is it just that our society is adversarial:
are we able to produce more honest and human leaders?
- Help me, God, to recognise my faults:
when I fail in my expectations to be strong enough to cope,
- to be prepared to give another the credit for being right:
more ready to lose face myself
than to lie myself out of trouble.
- Teach me to change what needs to be changed:
give me courage to accept what cannot be altered,
- but grant me wisdom to know the difference:
and always to give the glory to you.
v. 11 - The "serenity prayer" based on words of R. Neibuhr:"God grant me the grace to change what needs to be changed
the courage to accept what cannot be changed
and the wisdom to know the difference."